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Controlling Kwin in KDE 4

Posted by notKlaatu , 29 May 2008 · 82 views

A friend and I were sitting around playing with KDE 4. This sums up our notes on the topic:KDE 4 is a wicked desktop. The best traditionally (thereby conveniently excluding Fluxbox) graphic-driven desktop, IMHO. It's modern, it's sleek, it's ultra functional, and competes against the best of them. Don't get me wrong, XFCE is cool and GNOME has a very respectable dignity, but KDE 4 is something that excites and interests me.The weird thing is, of the few distributions I've seen that actually are edgy enough to include KDE 4 at all, none of them (SUSE, Kubuntu, Fedora) really have KDE 4 configured in a way that I think does it justice. This didn't make an impression on me until I heard a duo of rather vocal podcasters decry KDE 4 and Fedora 9 for some not very good reasons...but they did mention that KDE 4 didn't have enough contrast and didn't seem usable.Not usable? I've been using it since it was released, and powerfully. Not enough contrast? Well, change it!Ah yes, but how? Well, here's how to configure your KDE 4 desktop to your tastes. And I'm not talking config files or anything fancy, this is just really simple GUI stuff. It's just that KDE 4 is SO different that it seems many people (myself included until I attended the release event) can't find some of the simple built-in tools to configure the environment. You just forget to look for a control panel.First of all, it's not called a control panel any more. Here's where it's located....go to the K-Menu (different distros may brand things differently, so it may be an "F" menu on Fedora or a "K" on Kubuntu or whatever). The quickest way to get there is to hit Alt-F2 to RUN COMMAND (see? already I'm throwing out tips) and type in the word "system" -- the default selection should be the Application called System Settings, so hit RETURN and it will open.The other way to find the System Settings is to simply type into the search bar in the K-Menu. Type "System" and select from the results. OR you can just navigate to it: K-Menu > Applications > Settings > System Settings.Next window you'll see is the System Setting window, and it is basically your preferences for your [K] desktop environment.GIVE KDE MORE CONTRASTLook & Feel > Desktop > Desktop Effects > ShadowAdd a drop shadow to the windows. By default there is one already on it but on all screens I've seen, it's just too light. Here are the magic settings I use:X Offset = 1Y Offset = 1Shadow Opacity = 81% (quite a jump from the default of 25%)Shadow Fuzziness = 7Shadow Size = 4Look & Feel > AppearanceLots of customizing here, seemingly straight out of KDE 3.5.x You can change the colour scheme if you'd like, the icon set to something less pale than the default icon set Oxygen, apply themes, and so on. Knock yourself out.Look & Feel > Appearance > StyleChange the titlebar style and the style of all the widgets, like the scroll bars and checkboxes and things like that. So if you're just not diggin' the Oxygen feel, you can use any other style you prefer.Look & Feel > Window Behaviour > Window BehaviourConfigure how you can move windows from desktop to desktop, what a title bar does when you double click, etc.Computer Administration > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard ShortcutsYes, you have lots of keyboard shortcuts available to you. You can define them. You can learn what they are. For instance, ctrl-F9 shows you all the windows you have open on one desktop, and ctrl-F10 shows you all windows on all desktops. Ctrl-F8 zooms out for a bird's eye view of all your desktops. And you can configure more.Look & Feel > Desktop > Desktop Effects > *Take another look at this. All the cool compiz-style effects that come natively in K-Win are found here. Lots of cool and even useful effects are here; having a dialogue box dim its parent window is nice, having an in-focus window blur the windows behind it is sometimes nice, fades and scales, translucency, etc.So anyway, you get the idea. Basically the bottom line is to look in KDE 4's K-Menu for something called System Settings and tinker around in there. All the important stuff is thereHave fun.

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